‘Third Story’ is full of charm

From left, Rick Park, Erin Eva Butcher and Jordan Ben Sobel put on a, umm, breathtaking show with “The Third Story.”

“The Third Story” is twisted, convoluted storytelling rife with humor, madness and, in quintessential Charles Busch fashion, strong women played by a man in a dress.

In lesser hands, camp and kitsch could easily dominate the production, but fledgling Titanic Theatre Company has found the perfect formula for capturing Busch’s madcap magic.

Mother/son issues are front and center in this sometimes confusing but always hilarious noir-like collection of stories. The sparring of the only “real” characters, Peg and Drew, is key to making this production work. Shelley Brown and Jordan Sobel trade caustic, passive-aggressive quips with riotous precision and flawless authenticity, providing the perfect backdrop for the remaining tales to unfold.

Rick Park delivers an impressive trio of performances in pumps as female gangster Queenie, Russian witch Baba Yaga and Queenie 2, the lab creation who’ll replace the ailing original mob boss. Playing every word and gesture with the seriousness of a Greek tragedy, Park’s (ahem) straight delivery could easily be a master class in the art of comic camp.    

Brett Milanowski brings great physical comedy and impeccable timing to his stellar turn as the other lab creation Zygote, while Alisha Jansky is superb as his creator Dr. Constance Hudson. Erin Eva Butcher rounds out the perfectly-cast ensemble in dual roles as voluptuous Verna and the shy Russian princess.

Director Adam Zahler smartly keeps the Oedipal fur flying by simply telling the stories. The abundance of humor in this production comes as a byproduct of the talented troupe resisting the temptation to go for the laughs. Thankfully, they know enough to let the brilliantly funny Busch do the comedic heavy lifting. He rarely disappoints.

If you go
   
‘The Third Story’

Through Saturday
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St., Watertown
$20, 617-923-8487
www.titanictheatre.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

Future Boston Alliance invites you to #RidetheLine, support…

#RidetheLine aims to show the city, the nation, and the globe our creative impact as Boston citizens.

Local

(Update) Body of missing BU grad Eric Munsell…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in…

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime of Game 4

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 14-5

Felix Doubront struggles for second time in five starts

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.